College of the North Atlantic graduate is creating art with heart

Local artist turns darkness into light

8/6/2021 9:20:57 AM

ST. JOHN’S, NL - Textiles Artist Bruno Vinhas has brought his first solo exhibition to the Eastern Edge Gallery in St. John’s which runs until Saturday, August 7.

The showcase, entitled When It Stopped, is his reaction to the global pandemic that shut the world down in early 2020.

“The pandemic has most definitely taken a toll on my mental health which in response affected my work,” he said. “The whole body of work for When It Stopped is based on the struggles of living with high-functioning depression and how this was intensified during the lockdowns.”

Vinhas, a College of the North Atlantic (CNA) graduate who is originally from Brazil, says he has lived with high-functioning depression for years, but he found himself struggling with his mental health particularly during the lockdown periods.

“The first impact of the lockdown was uncertainty and figuring out what was going to happen next,” he said. “The feeling of not knowing was the scariest feeling I've felt so far in life.”

He says it was the support from his husband, friends and family that helped him see the light at the end of the tunnel and he has some advice for those who might find themselves in similar situations.

“The only thing I would suggest is to talk, reach out, and also to those around them try not to judge and give store bought advice, really practice active listening,” he said.

The artist says he hopes viewers of his exhibition felt like they are a part of something.

“I wanted them to take away that if they are going through the same thing; they are not alone.”

The head and the heart
The exhibition takes embroidery to a whole new level. It features large anatomical looking embroidery of a human heart and brain with red blood-like dye splattered across the canvas. Each piece was created by hand one stitch at a time, slowly telling the story of how the pandemic felt to him.

“I delve into the creation of the work for this exhibition,” said Vinhas. “A labour-intensive creative process that reflects my mental health state at the time and that opened me up to have conversations about it and also to develop my practice.”

Currently living in St. John’s NL, he is the Gallery Director at the Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador (CCNL). Vinhas says he is working on a few projects, including the 50th anniversary of CCNL.

Vinhas says he was drawn to the arts at a young age and being from Brazil he gained an interest in the global element of art.

“I always gravitated towards the cultural side,” he said. “Textiles came to me when I was working in theatres backstage and I developed a love for fabrics. Embroidery came later and it became a passion – dare I say an obsession.”

Aside from cultural influences, Vinhas also credits his time at CNA for shaping him into the artist he is today.

“The textile program, its more than talented instructors and my fellow colleagues, During my time in the course it opened my eyes for the craft community/industry in the province as well as the different paths I could take when I finished my course.”

Despite the ups and downs, Vinhas encourages others to pursue a career in arts.

“Keep trying and keep learning, tough times will come and you will feel like giving up but just try. It is not an easy path but it is so worth it.”

The exhibition is on display at the Eastern Edge Gallery until August 7, 2021. For more information, visit

For information on CNA’s Textile & Craft Apparel program and others, visit:


Media contact:

Ryanne McIsaac
Content Specialist
College of the North Atlantic